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Jason Spooner - Chemical

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Jason Spooner
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The Jason Spooner Band hails from the booming harbor city of Portland, Maine - a small but bustling sea port gaining significant national recognition for world-class food, art and a celebrated music scene. As the band approached the recording of their fourth album chemical, they decided to leave the comforts and conveniences of the city behind and retreat "down east" to the quiet Midcoast region of Maine for the particularly long and brutal winter of 2014. Jason Spooner, principal songwriter, vocalist and guitarist for The Jason Spooner Band explains, "?Life on the coast in the winter is ?about introspection and woodstoves. The days are simpler and they breed clarity and focus... it's a place where you can be left alone ?with your thoughts, something that is becoming harder and harder to make time for", Jason opines. "This solitude was crucial to the ?recording process of this album." ?The opening of one of New England's newest and most advanced recording studios, HEARSTUDIOS in Camden, Maine (modestly ?disguised within the walls of a renovated barn) played a large part in the band's decision to record in the region. Spooner, Chambers, ?Frederick and McPherson agreed that a primarily live recording experience was imperative for the new album. Spooner explains, "As a band, we'd always talked about how great it would be to hole up at a studio in the Berkshires or in Woodstock, NY and do the 'full-immersion' record where you live and breathe the creative process for weeks at a time and are free from the day- to-day minutia. I looked into that scenario here and there but it was just never really a pragmatic choice for a variety of reasons. Timing, schedules, cost, what have you. As soon as we walked into HEARSTUDIOS, we knew we'd found the room... we knew we could make a live performance-based record there." ?What ensued was the band's most fruitful and creative recording experience to date with the core tracks for the album recorded live on the floor. The energy created in the space permeates their newest album, chemical. ? chemical is the band's first effort as a quartet... The addition of Warren McPherson (keyboards, organ, piano) to the trio consisting of Spooner, Reed Chambers (drums, percussion) and Adam Frederick (bass, vocals) was inevitable says Spooner, "the bare-bones trio formation was fun for a while but we all knew that 4 was the magic number so to speak. When keyboards and piano are the addition, your sound changes exponentially. The possibilities and capabilities grow." ?chemical reflects the band's trajectory as a whole and breathes with an organic, natural quality; it's the sound of four individuals ?discovering a new formation, a new approach to recording and, ultimately, new musical horizons. When asked about the title, "chemical", Spooner explains, "I've always been fascinated with psychology...and the concept of micro ultimately controlling macro. I was always especially interested in the fact that the majority of what humans tend to hold sacred as the most profound emotions (love, hatred, happiness, jealously - even the feeling of De´ja' vu) can all be tied to neurochemicals roaming around in our heads." chemical's first single, "Fireflies", overflows with youthful memories and descriptive imagery that transports the listener to a much simpler, and desirable, time. Legendary Nashville pedal steel axe-man Bucky Baxter's well-known talents (Bob Dylan, R.E.M., Ryan Adams, Steve Earle) shine throughout the track. The progressive rocker "Top Hat" kicks the album off with a sizzling pocket featuring a clever time signature and an ominous interplay between a sinister organ line and driving guitar lick, culminating in an outro driven by a furious bassline. "Blindside" merges a soulful intro with a driving one-drop reggae feel while staying comfortably in the roots zone with dexterous harmonica, crunchy Telecaster tones and foot stomping exit that would make J.J. Cale proud. "Long Cold Grave" stands out with tasty organ tones, dirty guitar lines and an impassioned backing vocal from guest gospel singer Darcel Williams and "Read Them Their Rights" sees the band delving into a haunting, almost Orwellian reflective drone on government control that peaks with an eruptive and explosive crescendo before settling into a fractured, post-nuclear soundscape to end the piece. The self-assured jammy strut of "After All" sees the band foraying into interesting instrumental arrangements tipping their hats equally to The Wood Brothers and The Grateful Dead. The album is as equally powerful on the quieter end of the spectrum. "Shrouded" is a lush acoustic gem that ebbs and flows from an almost whispered and restrained verse/chorus section to a cinematic bridge followed by an orchestral outro that merges moaning bowed bass, powerful percussive elements, and sparkling grand piano with a spectacular, towering vocal chorus of stacked harmonies awash in reverb. "Spell", the album's closer and only solo acoustic number, finds Spooner alone in the empty live room on a sub-zero February night delivering the album's most raw track and perhaps the most emotionally bare and confessional work of his career. The band also pushes the envelope with two instrumentals. "Weld" pulses with a metallic, industrial cadence that would be welcome on a Tom Waits record and "T'ump" follows a classic jazz form with Spooner, McPherson and Frederick trading solos over the album's most creative percussion work from Chambers. With the release of their third album, Sea Monster, in 2010, the band found success when the album was featured heavily on Sirius/XM's "The Loft" channel, on NPR's "All Things Considered" and at over 11,000 Starbucks retail locations nationwide. At it's peak, the album reached the #18 on the national BDS Indicator chart for all of Triple A Radio, making it the only independent album on the chart at the time. In addition to glowing recent press in USA Today and High Times Magazine, the band was named one of Relix Magazine's coveted 'On The Verge - Bands you should know.' In addition, Wood & Steel Magazine has said about Jason, 'Spooner's songs belie a sharp-tooled craftsmanship on the writing side, yet wash over the listener with fluid finesse... The great thing, beyond the wonderfully contoured, lived-in sound, is the way Spooner reminds us that, even as listeners, we're all a part of the story, too.' Over the last few years The Jason Spooner Band has performed with acts as varied as B.B. King, John Mayer, Jackson Browne, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Ray LaMontagne, Susan Tedeschi, Jackie Greene, G. Love, Guster, Blues Traveler, Peter Rowan and Sara Bareilles. Within the last few summers alone, they have performed at Targhee Fest in Jackson Hole, WY - The Gathering of the Vibes in Bridgeport, CT - The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT - FloydFest in Floyd, Va - The Festival at Sandpoint - Sandpoint, ID - The Naukabout Festival on Cape Cod, the River City Roots Festival in Missoula, MT - The Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in Lyons, CO and have been perennial favorites at The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT.

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Jason Spooner - Chemical.

1) Top Hat
2) After All
3) Long Cold Grave
4) Fireflies Intro
5) Fireflies
6) Shrouded
7) Read Them Their Rights
8) Blind Side
9) Weld
10) Red ; Green
11) Blink of An Eye
12) Back and Forth
13) T'ump
14) Spell

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Chemical | Jason Spooner